Yesterday on February 22nd, Grand Valley State University hosted Math In Action. This is a conference for teachers and students to attend discussions on issues and possible solutions to these issues in mathematics education. I had the fortunate opportunity to work as a volunteer for this, and attend different sessions. It was an amazing experience in which I can take these ideas to my future classroom.
The first session I worked as a volunteer for a discussion on Formative Assessment in a Tech-Based World. She introduced three sites that are free and teachers could use to quickly gauge student understanding. These three sites include beta.socrative.com, nearpod.com, and thatquiz.org. They require every student to have some sort of access to the internet and they answer questions about the lesson. The teacher then can track student responses and determine if any students need extra help. Students can show their work to a problem, and the teacher can review it. If it is a common misconception, the teacher has the ability to post it to the projector to start a discussion with the students.
The second session I attended was Adventures with Mathematics Grades 6-8. This included five stations that included some sort of game or activity for middle school students. The games included determining how much money you save driving the speed limit vs. speeding, a guess who game with linear cards, a rotation/reflection/translation board game, four corners involving adding integers, and a game involving graphing linear equations. These games requires much more thinking about the concepts rather than following a procedure.
Next, I went to the Math-Team-Matics session. The speakers talked about a mathematics completion that they set up at Grand Valley State University. The competition includes middle school students all the way up to 10th graders. Each team consists of six members that contribute to the competition. For the competition, they do a collaboration piece, individual test, a relay, and a quiz bowl. The session included the attendees explore each of the four parts of the competition. I really liked the relay part. It requires each student to answer a question using the information that the students before solved. It was interesting watching teachers and college students having so much fun competing against each other solving mathematics problems.
Finally, the last session I attended included a talk on High Fidelity Teaching. It centered around getting students more engaged in the material. She talked about the Common Core, a factor that leads to disengagement, and growth mindset. The factor was stereotype threat. How stereotypes have affected students in mathematics. The one stereotype example that was discussed at length was girls are not good at math. It affects girls since they then feel they do not have to be good at math, and gives them a reason for saying I do not have to be good at math. The last issue we tackled was growth mindset vs. fixed mindset. We should want our students to experience growth mindset to get the best work out of them. Growth mindset was discovered by Psychologist Carol Dweck, and in summary it includes not giving up on challenging problems, logical reasoning, and the desire to learn.
I had an amazing experience at Math In Action this year. This was my first time attending the conference, and I would like to attend it again. Any mathematics teachers in the Grand Rapids area that would love to learn more about mathematics education should definitely attend the conference. Information about this years conference can be found at http://www.gvsu.edu/math/math-in-action-2014-22.htm.